• Welcome to the Law Offices of Rachelle Chong

    Legal and Strategic Consulting Services

    Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission and California Public Utilities Commission

  •  

    Leading Government/Regulatory Affairs Expert and Advocate in California

    Fields of Expertise: Regulatory matters relating to Sharing Economy, Transportation Network Companies (Lyft, Uber), Transportation Policy, Telecommunications, Broadband, Telehealth, E-Rate, California Teleconnect Fund, LifeLine, Wireless Communications, Public Safety Communications, Cable, Digital Literacy, Smart Grid, Renewable Energy, Electric Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles, and general California public utilities law.

    I have forged deep ties throughout my legislative and regulatory career, and have developed an expansive local, state, and Federal government and regulatory agency network. This extensive network offers me the unique ability to assist companies in understanding governmental processes, advocate innovative policies in California and in Washington, D.C., and expedite business and public policy projects.

    CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

    As interim General Counsel of Sidecar and outside CPUC regulatory lawyer to Lyft, I have impacted the crafting of new regulations and laws for ride sharing and autonomous vehicles. As Comcast’s VP Government Affairs, I worked with broad coalitions that achieved legislative success in minimizing regulation of IP-enabled services and maintaining a cable industry tax exemption resulting in $15M in negative taxes. I led the company's California community investment program. As General Counsel and VP Gov't Affairs of Broadband Office, I managed legal, regulatory, HR and real estate groups at a Kleiner Perkins start-up in the IP-enabled broadband and apps space.

    As a Governor Schwarzenegger appointee to the California’s Public Utilities Commission, I become the agency’s point person for telecom, broadband, digital literacy, and Internet policies involving work with the Federal Communications Commission, Dept. of Commerce's NTIA, Department of Energy, and Dept. of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service. I initiated a multi million California Advanced Services Fund to deliver broadband infrastructure to areas without broadband or dial up Internet service. I helped lead efforts to form and stand up the California Telehealth Network with an FCC grant. I led successful efforts to update the state’s telecommunications regulatory framework, reduce consumer complaint backlogs, and bring modern telephone devices to the deaf and disabled community. In energy, I led nation-leading energy dockets on Smart Grid, Electric Vehicles, Dynamic Pricing and Demand Response. I was proud to cast the key vote to approve the California Solar Initiative at my first CPUC voting meeting.

     

  • SKILLS

     

    Legal and Lobbying

     

    Telecommunications, Broadband, and Internet Regulation & Policy

    Licensing, CASF Grants, Mergers, Rulemaking

     

    Government Relations

    Represent clients before California PUC, Federal Communications Commission

     

    Transportation Law and Policy

    Transportation Network Companies, Common Carrier Regulation, Vessel Common Carriers

     

    Sharing Economy

    Energy Policy

    Smart Grid, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Climate Change, Microgrids

     

    Electric Vehicle and Autonomous Vehicle Regulation

    California Wildfire regulatory matters

  • The Blog

    Thoughts, musings, and ruminations. All opinions expressed are mine.

    October 29, 2020 · Rideshare,Uber,Lyft,Prop 22,AB5
    July 8, 2020 · Electric Utilities,Microgrids
    More Posts
  • Speaker

     

    Request Commissioner Chong to speak at your event

  • Connect With Us

    Email: rachelle@chonglaw.net

    Location: San Francisco

  • EXPERIENCE

     

    Law Office of Rachelle Chong

    Solo practitioner providing legal and lobbying services to selected clients.

    Principal 

    July 2013 – Present

     

     

    Provides legal and registered lobbyist services for a broad array of clients before the California PUC. and FCC. Career regulatory lawyer before California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Communications Commission.

    Sidecar Technologies

    Key regulatory counsel to one of the first three Transportation Network Companies in the nation.

    Senior Regulatory Counsel 

    February 2015 – December 2015

     

     

    Responsible for regulatory relations with state agencies, local agencies and airports.

    California Asian Chamber of Commerce

    Small Business Policy Organization

    Board Member 

    May 2011 – 2020

     

    Board member for California Asian Chamber of Commerce, headquartered in Sacramento, California. The CalAsian chamber represents 400,000 small businesses owned by Asian Americans in California.
    http://www.calasiancc.org/

    Federal Communications Bar Association, Northern California Chapter

    Association of federal communications counsel

    Co-Chair 

    Jan 2010 – Dec 2015

     

     

    Planned quarterly programs with two co-chairs in the telecommunications, broadcast, broadband, wireless policy areas.

    California Emerging Technology Fund

    Non profit organization dedicated to closing the Digital Divide

    Special Counsel; former Chair, Board of Experts

    2006 – present

     

     

    Chair of Board of Experts (2006-2013) for non profit organization formed by California Public Utilities Commission. Outside Special Counsel from 2014-present. A non profit organization established by the CPUC, CETF is dedicated to bringing broadband access and adoption to all of California.

    Sidecar Technologies

    Ridesharing provider - one of original three companies

    Interim General Counsel 

    Jun 2014 – Jan 2015

     

    Represented Transportation Network Company and oversaw all legal, regulatory, policy, insurance, and strategy as Interim General Counsel during time when TNCs as legal entities under CA , Seattle, D.C. and Chicago regulatory law were established.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area

    Mentoring non profit

    Board Member 

    Jun 2012 – Jul 2014

     

     

    Board member to San Francisco non profit organization that provides mentoring from Big Brothers and Big Sisters to at risk youth, ages 6-16. We inspire our children to stay in school and have positive social relationships. On the board, I served on the 2013 Gala Committee, helping deliver our most successful Gala to date in terms of fund raising. I also serve on the Development Committee.

    Techwire.net

    tech newsletter

    Columnist 

    Jan 2013 – Jun 2014

     

     

    Columnist at Techwire.net covering federal policy relating to broadband, telecommunications and the Internet. Also covers the start up tech scene in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with emphasis on the Internet, communications, and energy.

    Comcast, West Region

    Largest cable TV, broadband, voice and home security provider in the US

    Vice President, Government Affairs, California Region 

    May 2011 – Jan 2013

     

     

    Led California Government Affairs team of twelve for California Region for Comcast. Responsibilities include representing Comcast at the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, California State Legislature, and local franchise authorities, plus all Comcast community development investment.

    Bay Area Council

    Policy Association

    Board member 

    May 2011 – Dec 2012

     

     

    Board member to Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. The Council advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. 275 of the largest employers in the region support the Bay Area Council.

    California Technology Agency

    State CIO office

    Special Counsel, Advanced Information & Communications Technologies 

    Dec 2009 – Apr 2011

     

     

    I led work on issues relating to broadband, telehealth, Next Generation 9-1-1, public safety communications, digital literacy, smart grid, health information exchange, and electronic medical records.

    California Telehealth Network

    Telehealth network serving rural health care providers

    Secretary, Member of the Board 

    2007 – Apr 2011

     

    Assisted in writing FCC application for grant that formed largest telehealth network in the nation for a state. Served as Secretary and Member of the Board representing CPUC in 2007-2009. In 2015-2016, represented CTN as outside Regulatory Counsel.

     

    California Public Utilities Commission

    State constitutional agency

    Commissioner 

    Jan 2006 – Dec 2009

     

     

    The CPUC regulates privately owned telecommunications, electric, natural gas, water, railroad, passenger transportation companies, including authorizing statewide video franchises. The five commissioners are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Led most of the telecommunications and broadband work, and energy dockets for smart grid, electric vehicles, and demand response.

    National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

    Association for state utility commissioners and their professional staff

    Telecommunications Committee 

    Jan 2006 – Dec 2009

     

    Leading member of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Telecommunications. The Telecommunications Committee provides a critical venue for State utility commissioners to analyze trends and share best practices. The Committee works closely with the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and the FBI.

    California Broadband Task Force

    Governor's Appointee to California Broadband Task Force

    Member 

    2006 – Jan 2008

     

     

    The California Broadband Task Force was formed by Governor Schwarzenegger to study barriers to deployment of broadband in California in late 2006. The 16 member blue ribbon task force was appointed by the Governor. The Task Force issued a report in January 2008 with recommendations to the Governor. As a CPUC Commissioner, I put into action many of the recommendations by the Task Force.

    Authorize.net formerly Lightbridge, Inc.

    Company specializing in online payment solutions

    Director 

    2000 – 2007

     

     

    Independent Director for Lightbridge, Inc., which became Authorize.net. Served on audit committee and chaired compensation committee.

    Association of Public Television Stations

    Policy association representing public television stations

    Trustee 

    2001 – 2006

     

     

    Served as trustee for Association of Public Television Stations (APTS). The APTS is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for the American people. My role was to assist in regulatory strategies before the FCC and the US Congress to ensure sustainability of the members in the face of great change in broadcasting regulation and technology.

    Broadband Office, Inc.

    Start up Carrier Providing Broadband, Voice and Other Apps to Large Commercial Buildings

    General Counsel and VP Government Affairs 

    Jan 2000 – May 2001

     

     

    Led all legal and regulatory efforts of this start-up carrier of IP-enabled voice and Internet services to large commercial buildings, funded by Kleiner Perkins and large REITS. Supervised team of 14 lawyers and all outside counsel to handle all regulatory, real estate, HR and labor matters in 15 states.

    Corsair Communications

    Wireless Tech Company

    Director 

    1998 – 2000

     

     

    Independent Board Member for start up company developing back office systems for wireless phone companies. Served on Audit Committee, and actively led CEO salary negotiations..

    Coudert Brothers

    Partner 

    Jan 1998 – Dec 1999

     

     

    Regulatory practice before California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Communications Commission. Represented telecommunications and Internet companies, with particular emphasis on international clients.

    Federal Communications Commission

    Federal Agency

    Commissioner 

    May 1994 – Nov 1997

     

     

    Appointed by President Clinton to the 5-member FCC in May 1994. This seat is confirmed by the US Senate. Served from1994-1997. Major decisions before the FCC during this era included the first wireless auctions, launch of several wireless services, finalization of digital TV transition rules, implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and children's television rules.

    Graham & James

    San Francisco International Law Firm

    Partner 

    Sep 1987 – Apr 1994

     

     

    Regulatory law practice before the California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Communications Commission representing primarily telecommunications clients, including four major wireless carriers and paging companies.

    Kadison Pfaelzer Woodard Quinn & Rossi

    Telecom and Energy Law Firm

    Associate 

    Sep 1984 – Aug 1987

     

     

    Represented primarily broadcaster and telecommunications clients at Washington, D.C. based law firm. Also worked in energy area before the FERC.

    Anterix

    Wireless Technology Company

    Board member, August 2018- May 2020

     

    Served as an independent Board member to Anterix, previously pdvWireless, a publicly traded company.

  • EDUCATION

     

    UC Hastings College of the Law

    San Francisco

    JD Law 1981 - 1984

     

    Activities: Editor in Chief, Comm/Ent Law Journal; Vice President, Associated Students of Hastings.

    University of California, Berkeley

    Berkeley

    BS Political Science and Journalism 1977 - 1981

     

     

    Activities: Phi Beta Kappa.

  • CONTACT ME! 

    Contact me for strategic consulting, legal services and speaking engagements

    345 West Portal Avenue, Suite 110, San Francisco, CA 94127
  • MANTRA

    Never give up.

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